Fates and Furies

Riverhead. Sept. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781594634475. $27.92; ebk. ISBN 9780698405127. F
OrangeReviewStarIn this surprising and complex love story, Groff (Arcadia) explores the obsessive nature of love. The first half of the novel is told from the viewpoint of the magnetic Lancelot "Lotto" Satterwhite, whose pleasant childhood ends when his wealthy father dies, leaving him and his younger sister in the hands of their unbalanced mother, Antoinette. After a tortured adolescence spent at a boarding school, Lotto blossoms in college, becoming an acclaimed actor and an eminent womanizer—until he meets the mysterious loner, Mathilde. After the two marry impulsively, Antoinette cuts off Lotto from his inheritance, but he eventually finds fame as a playwright with Mathilde by his side. In the book's second half, we see events from Mathilde's perspective. While in the first section she seems quietly supportive, her character is revealed to have a dark undercurrent of cold calculation, and readers will question everything that has come before.
VERDICT Like a classic tragedy, Groff's novel offers high drama, hubris, and epic love, complete with Greek chorus-like asides. A singular and compelling literary read, populated with extraordinary characters; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/16/15.]
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